Thursday, July 26

Servant Leadership and Meeting Needs

In yesterday's post I talked about setting boundaries as a way to maintain the servant leadership principle and to not be seen as a "doormat." Today I would like to address meeting legitimate needs as another way to keep within the limits.

Every human being have the same basic needs. American psychologist Abraham Maslow was famous for proposing the Hierarchy of Human Needs. These basic needs are as follows:

  • The Physiological Needs -- food, air, shelter, sleep, sex
  • The Safety Needs -- security of self, family and property
  • The Need for Belongingness -- friendship, intimacy
  • The Need for Self-Esteem -- the need to be respected
  • The Self-Actualization Need -- creativity, morality, purpose

These are the legitimate needs that servant leaders are called to meet.

There is a difference between meeting needs and satisfying wants. According to James Hunter, author of The Servant: A Simple Story About the True Essence of Leadership, the definition of a want is a wish or desire without any regard for the physical or psychological consequence. Slaves satisfy wants, servant leaders meet needs.

This is one reason leaders must lead themselves first. When leaders are comfortable with themselves, when they can be authentic, then they can distinguish between wants and legitimate needs. A true leader knows the pulse of the organization she is leading and can discern what the true needs of that organization and the people are.

Are you satisfying peoples wishes or meeting their legitimate needs?

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

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